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I had never really wondered or cared much about where I was from and what my imigrant ancestors were like until I was assigned this research paper on an imigrant ancestore of mine. The things that I found out made the picture in my mind much different and changed my perspective of what it must have been like to live back in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
In The Beginning....
August Soronen was the second son of Jacob and Kaisa (Polo) Soronen. When he was about ten years old, his parents packed up him and his other brothers and sisters and moved to America. They resided in Mowhawk, Michigan where they built a house and a farm. Until I saw a picture of the living room of their house, I thought that they must have been very poor. The picture told me otherwise. It was decorated with beautiful wallpaper and drapes, fine looking tables and a large assortment of photographs and nicknacks. That told me a lot that I didn't know about their lives. My cousin told me that that room was only used for company and special occasions. Children were NEVER allowed to go in it. I'm not saying that these people were rich, by any means, but what I am saying is that they weren't nearly as poor as they were when they lived back in Finland.
The Facts About August....
Jacob and Kaisa's children grew up and found husbands and wives. The woman that became the wife of August was Greeta Jurmu. One of the stories that I was told about her was that when August got hurt somehow (I wasn't given the details) she had to take on a lot of extra chores. One of them was driving the car to go and get things they needed. Back then, women usually never drived. Her daughter Emma used to be so proud when she would see her mother dirving down the street while she was playing with her friends. That was HER mother driving a car!!! Greeta was a very strong woman (like the woman had to be back then).
Another story that I heard about Emma and Hulda (Greeta and August's daughters) were that when they were teenagers they used to sneek out to Electric Park in Highway Location on Friday nights. Electric Park was the place to go to to have some fun!!
All together, August and Greeta had 11 children. There names were: Hulda, Emma, Kaarlo, Eino, Yalmer, Lillian, Laila, Siiri, Hilia, John, and Gustaf.
August worked in a mine for a short period of time and then built a convenience store on the side of his house. I think he may have also owned a gas station, but I'm not positive about that.
His family lived in Mowhawk until 1905 when they moved to Demmon (Calumet). August owned quite a bit of land in Highway Location (where he later gave some to his family).
From what I know, August must have had a pretty nice life, filled with love and his family. He certainly raised some decent children, who in turn raised more chilren, who also raised another generation of children.
I wasn't the only one who benefitted by doing this paper. I found out that I was related to so many people that I know, but didn't relize that are my cousins, great aunts, great uncles, etc. While my mother and one of my cousins (that I just recently met because of this paper) were talking about my great aunts and uncles. I listened blankly because I didn't have a clue of who they were talking about. My mom would say something and I'd say "who's that?" She actually looked shocked at that I didn't know who she was talking about. She realized that just because she knew who they were didn't mean that I was going automatically know who they were. When she was growing up, her famliy would often get together on the weekends and have cookouts and things like that. Now a days, it seems like we never get together with family unless its our close family.
Altogether I learned a lot while doing this paper, not only about August and my other imigrant ancestores, but about people that I can meet now. I have so many relitives that I've never met before and now my mom is more interested in introducing me to them!!!
I interviewed Lila Liimatta and got some pictures and info.
I talked to Sharon Soronen over the phone and she gave me some information.
I got birth and death info and the places where the Soronens lived from a Geneology book that Jim Kurtti put together.
© Belinda Wirtanen
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